Travel trends: ‘slow travel’

Nov 24, 2023 | Blog

As travellers seek a slower, more sustainable travel experience, hotels have a myriad of tools to help guests realise their wishes

Hot on the heels of consumer demand for travel and hospitality companies to be more sustainable, hotels are embracing the growing ‘slow travel’ trend which sees guests seeking a more relaxed and slow-moving experience, embedded with a true local flavour.

Yet slow travel does not necessarily mean hotels need to do away with digital services. Modern touches such as high connectivity and low contact technology options enhance a guest’s experience, and provide them with less administration and more time to enjoy their down time.

What do travellers want?

According to American Express’ 2023 Global Travel Trends report, 78% of travellers see leisure travel as a budget priority, showing that despite global increases in the cost of living and squeezes on pay packets, travel remains top of the list for many. 

However, 74% care more about creating an experience that meets their expectations rather than being cost conscious. These findings present a paradox and raise the question ‘what is value?’ Guests may be happy to pay more for the right experience, but they also need to feel a hotel or wider holiday offers them value for money. 

The same report found 83% of all travellers want to shop at small businesses in their destination, with 69% happy to spend more if they knew it supported the local community, boosting the authentic experience. Providing a localised experience, with flexibility to tailor to each traveller’s individual needs, is therefore essential in creating value and a memorable adventure

Digital behaviour

What is slow travel?

Slow travel is an alternative way to explore and experience the world. In today’s eco-conscious and community minded travel community, the mindful, environmentally responsible way to enjoy your leisure time is key. 

Forget a ‘fly and flop’ beach jaunt or a short-haul city break on a budget airline; slow travel equates to a more organic way of life – from the transport you use (preferably public transport such as trains, boats and walking over flying), to the type of businesses you stay, eat and shop with, and the very destination you select – one that avoids the heavily visited hotspots prone to ‘overtourism’.

Hotels participating in the slow travel movement often have close links to their local community – such as sourcing locally grown food, or offering authentic local experiences for guests to really get to know a destination. This doesn’t mean you need to follow in the footsteps of Luddites – in fact, it’s the opposite. The right type of technology can help you and your guests slow down whilst retaining efficiencies and meeting modern guest expectations.

Using technology to foster more sustainable hotel experiences

Hotels can sometimes be slow to change, preferring instead to react to consumer sentiment and feedback. One example was the reduction of daily linen changes for both bath towels and bed sheets – a move that was resisted by many traditionalists for fear it would reduce the hotel experience, but is increasingly embraced for its sustainability (and cost saving) measures.  

In the USA, the Green Hotels Association estimates 70% of today’s guests prefer to be asked about changing towels and sheets; this is most frequently done by in-room paper products such as door hangers or signs. Oracle’s Hospitality in 2025 report found a similar number (73%) of people want hotels to offer technology which minimises interaction with both hotel staff and guests. Imagine the further environmental and cost savings hotels could make by being able to communicate this digitally.

Details are key on loyalty programmes

Connecting with your hotel guests

Giving guests the power of time is an asset they’re looking for in slow travel; having the autonomy to research and select their experiences, while also having the confidence they can call someone should they need additional services. That’s where mobile technology comes into its own. Seamlessly integrating with our popular PMS, SIHOT.GO is an intuitive app helping connect hotels and their guests from the time of booking until post-stay. 

Reservations made directly in SIHOT.GO transfer data directly into the hotel’s PMS, making guest information available to reservation and front desk teams to prepare for each guest’s visit.

From pre-arrival and check-in throughout their stay, hoteliers can communicate with guests through the app with everything from service requests and concierge enquiries to airport transfers and checking opening hours of hotel facilities. You can also prompt feedback whilst a guest is in-house, allowing your guest relations team to identify and resolve any potential negative experiences in a prompt manner before they taint a guest’s overall impression.  

With full invoicing and payment functionality, guests are able to manage payments and post-stay recall their own bills – particularly handy for business travellers – as well as provide feedback about their visit. This all makes the process efficient and reliable for guests while reducing administration for hotel teams.

Discover how SIHOT.GO can help connect you with your guests and encourage a personalised experience by contacting us